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Pragmatic

The things that were here before you died

and the things that have come after:

 

To the former belong, first of all,

your clothes, the jewelry and the photographs

and the name of the woman you were named after

and who also died young...

But also a couple receipts, the arrangement

of a certain corner in the living room,

a shirt you ironed for me

and which I keep carefully

under my pile of shirts,

certain pieces of music, and the mangy

dog that still stands around

smiling stupidly, as though you were here.

 

To the latter belong my new fountain pen,

a well-known perfume

on the skin of a woman I hardly even know

and the new light bulbs I put in the bedroom lamp

by whose light I read about you

in every book I try to read.

 

The former remind me that you were,

the latter that you no longer are.

 

It is the near indistinguishableness

I find hardest to bear.

 

Henrik Nordbrandt

(1945)

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Taken on June 14, 2002